As a global CSO network committed to fostering innovation in its advocacy and other areas of work, Forus was very pleased to jointly held on April 9th 2020 the webinar “New approaches, tools, and technologies for advocacy in civil society networks and coalitions” with ISEG, the Lisbon School of Economics and Management, University of Lisbon.  

Advocacy is at the heart of the work of any civil society network like Forus and its members. In a rapidly changing world, the challenges to mobilize coalitions for change around increasingly complex issues are many. But so are new opportunities to support civic-driven campaigning. Our two guests, Princess Bazley-Bethea from Forus member InterAction and Jen Castro from US-based NGO Digital Democracy, showed us how they have been innovating in advocacy by using new processes, tools, and technologies to empower grass-roots movements, strengthen civil society coalitions, and turn network advocacy into more efficient and effective action. 

During the webinar Princess Bazley-Bethea, shared the lessons learned from The Together Project, which focuses primarily on positive public image and inter-religious connections to strengthen CSO advocacy and financial access, it also aims to remove the obstacles faced by NGOs when providing humanitarian and development assistance abroad. This initiative was a response to the challenges faced by U.S.-based organisations confronted by discrimination in the U.S. on the basis of their operating principles or religious faith. 

On the other hand, Jen Castro, talked about how Digital Democracy, an organization that uses technology to empower marginalized communities and allow them to defend their rights. She shared with us the experience of Digital Democracy using Mapeo, a GPS-based tool for community mapping, with indigenous communities in northern Peru and the Amazon facing climate issues such as oil pollution, mercury waste, environmental damage in the area. Through this program communities have been trained to monitor and share data even without an Internet connection. 

With the support of Ana Luísa Silva, PhD candidate at the ISEG, who works on civil society innovation, the webinar agenda was able to address issues related to building strong coalitions around new challenges for CSOs and CSO networks. 

If you are interested on re-watching this webinar you can click here. Please feel free to contact the speakers if you would like to share any further thoughts on these or other topics relevant to civil society organisations. [Ana Luísa Silva at analuisasilva@phd.iseg.ulisboa.pt. Bazley-Bethea (InterAction) at pbazley-bethea@interaction.org Jen Castro (Digital Democracy) at jcastro@digital-democracy.org ] 

Join us for the next webinar in the series (in Spanish), about peer-to-peer learning innovations, on the 24th of April at 12pm São Paulo / 5pm Madrid. Find out more and sign up here

InterAction Resources: Click here to read the Disinformation Toolkit and the Banking De-risking Infographic shared by the Together Project Coalition